You probably thought the new, digitally zombified Orville Redenbacher was the most disturbing popcorn-related thing you’d see in 2007, but CNN is reporting (warning: video) that the butter flavoring in microwave popcorn causes permanent, debilitating asthma-like effects in popcorn factory workers.
The chemical, diacetyl (pronounced DIE-ASS-UH-TEAL) has been known to be dangerous for some time. In 2004, a worker was awarded 18 million in damages, according to the CNN video. The EPA has been working on a draft study of the dangers of the chemical to consumers, but hasn’t finalized it yet.
So far one manufacturer, Pop Weaver, has announced that it has stopped using the chemical. ConAgra, the company behind the Orville Redenbacher and Act II brands, says it won’t comment on the final report of the EPA draft until blah blah blah but it will remove diacetyl “in the near future.” Until then, you eat ConAgra popcorn at your own peril.
That’s right! Popcorn. Causes. Lung damage. Welcome back from your holiday.
“Toxic Popcorn” [CNN]